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Research on the Case for Catholic Schools

Research shows that:

Catholic schools are good for the community.

  • Catholic schools tend to operate as communities rather than bureaucracies, which links to higher levels of teacher commitment, student engagement, and student achievement (Marks, 2009).
  • The Catholic school climate, mission, and purpose positively impact student achievement and attendance (Bryk, Lee, & Holland, 1993).
  • A faith-based orientation builds coherence and integration of schools and school community (Bryk, Lee, & Holland, 1993).


Catholic Schools help students achieve academically.

  • In Catholic schools, the student achievement gap is smaller than in public schools(Jeynes, 2007; Marks & Lee, 1989)
  • In Catholic schools, overall academic achievement is higher (Coleman, Hoffer, & Kilgore, 1982; Sander, 1996).
  • In Catholic schools, student math scores improve between sophomore and senior years (Carbonaro, & Covay, 2010).
  • Latino and African American students in Catholic schools are more likely to graduate from high school and college (Grogger & Neal, 2000).
  • Students with multiple disadvantages benefit most from Catholic schools (Greeley, 1982; Evans & Schwab, 1995; Neal, 1997).
  • The poorer and more at-risk a student is, the greater the relative achievement gains in Catholic schools (York, 1996).
  • More research on student achievement from Catholic Education: a Journal of Inquiry and Practice


Catholic schools help build a better society.

  • Graduates of Catholic  high schools are more likely to vote (Dee, 2005).
  • Graduates of Catholic  high schools are more likely to earn higher wages (Neal, 1997).
  • Catholic schools tend to produce graduates who are more civically engaged, more tolerant of diverse views, and more committed to service as adults (Campbell, 2001; Wolf, Greene, Kleitz, & Thalhammer, 2001).
  • When a Catholic school closes, neighborhood disorder increases (Brinig, Garnett, 2009).